Astronaut John Young, one of only a handful of human beings to have walked on the moon, has died at the age of 87.
NASA lost a legend this weekend, as U.S. astronaut John Young, part of an exclusive club of people who have walked on the moon, passed away at the age of 87. Young commanded the very first space shuttle flight, and he took six journeys into space over his illustrious career.
Young died from complications from pneumonia, and NASA put out a statement remembering his life and calling him a “pioneer.” Young began his career as a Navy pilot who was part of the second group of astronauts ever hired by NASA back in 1962, and he ended up being one the most experienced flyers at the space agency.
Young is the only person to have been part of the Gemini, Apollo, and space shuttle programs. Young was certainly a colorful individual as well, having once been reprimanded by NASA staff in Houston for smuggling a corned beef sandwich in his spacesuit, which the agency worried would cause problems due to crumbs getting into sensitive equipment.
“Today, NASA and the world have lost a pioneer. Astronaut John Young’s storied career spanned three generations of spaceflight; we will stand on his shoulders as we look toward the next human frontier,” NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot said in a statement. “John was one of that group of early space pioneers whose bravery and commitment sparked our nation’s first great achievements in space. But, not content with that, his hands-on contributions continued long after the last of his six spaceflights — a world record at the time of his retirement from the cockpit.”